Bar Refaeli is an Israeli model and actress most famous for being the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swinsuit Edition cover model and 2012 Maxim World's Most Beautiful Woman.
Refaeli (born June 4, 1985) was born in Hod HaSharon, Israel. Her mother was a successful Israeli model in the 1970s under her maiden name Tzipi Levine.
Though she appeared in a commercial at eight months old, Refaeli's modeling career began when she was age 15 after having her childhood braces removed. Represented by Irene Marie Models, she appeared in ad campaigns for fashion brands Castro and Pilpel and in a commercial for Milky. In 2000, she won the title "Model of the Year" in an Israeli beauty contest.
In 2007, Refaeli debuted in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, becoming the first Israeli model to appear in the magazine, and went on to become the issue's 2009 covermodel. She has also been featured in ELLE (France), Maxim, and GQ (Italy) and in ad campaigns for Subaru, Accessorize, Rampage, Brazilian clothing line Besni, Italian jewelry line Marco Bicego, and Garnier International.
In 2007, controversy arose over Refaeli marrying, and later divorcing, a family acquaintance in order to avoid mandatory military service in the Israel Defense Forces. Refaeli later stated, "I don't regret not enlisting, because it paid off big time. That's just the way it is, celebrities have other needs. I hope my case has influenced the army." In 2009, fellow Israeli and Sports Illustrated model Esti Ginzburg criticized Refaeli for her avoidance of military service.
Refaeli's acting roles include having co-starred in the Israeli TV series Pick Up (2005) and co-hosted the Bravo special program Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America (2008). She also served as a guest judge on cycle four of Germany's Next Topmodel hosted by Heidi Klum.
Refaeli is also known for her on-and-off relationship with American actor Leonard DiCaprio which began in November 2005 and officially ended in June 2009.
In May 2012, Refaeli was voted the world's most beautiful woman by the annual Maxim Magazine Hot 100 list.
Sources: Bar Refaeli Official Website; Wikipedia; JTA